Coach John Hackworth was disappointed his team came out flat, needing a last equalizer from Jack McInerney to salvage a point against D.C.WASHINGTON — A last-gasp equalizer inherently paints a result as a point earned rather than two dropped. But don't tell that to John Hackworth.
The Philadelphia Union coach saw Jack McInerney break a 14-match goalless drought in the 90th minute Saturday, earning the visitors a 1-1 draw at D.C. United. Yet with two games remaining and Philadelphia barely on the outside looking in at the playoffs, Hackworth isn't celebrating a tie against the league's worst team.
"Going into this game, we controlled our own destiny a little bit," Hackworth said. "If the results keep going the way they are now, we don't control our own destiny and that's disappointing."
Coming off back-to-back wins, the Union were certainly favorites against United, which saw its winless stretch in league play extended to 10 games. Philadelphia, however, had its fair share of concerns on the personnel front.
Starting right back Sheanon Williams was suspended for yellow card accumulation. Reserve fullback Fabinho was serving a red card ban. And makeshift defender Sebastien Le Toux exited in the 16th minute with a foot injury, forcing seldom-used utility man Matt Kassel into his first game action since mid-July.
"I don't know if we really need to make any changes — we've won two games and a tie," McInerney said. "Those are good results, especially where we've been, with the injuries we've had and the situations people have been put in."
Hackworth praised his side's ability to cope with those moving parts. He also lauded that second-half resilience, and gave credit to a United side less than two weeks removed from winning the U.S. Open Cup.
But he felt the Union came out flat, allowing D.C. to create a slew of chances and cash in on Nick DeLeon's long-range blast. For a team in the midst of an airtight playoff chase, it wasn't acceptable.
"That was not a great performance tonight," Hackworth said, later adding, "I don't think our guys came out and approached the game the right way in the first half."
Next week, the Union travel to Montreal to face the Impact before closing the season a week later versus Sporting Kansas City at PPL Park. With Montreal, the Chicago Fire and Philadelphia in a three-way tie for fourth in the Eastern Conference (and only five teams going to the postseason), that clash is particularly critical.
"Things are tight, and we have to do everything we possibly can to find a way to get on to the next stage of the season," said captain Brian Carroll, who played his 300th MLS game Saturday. "I'm confident in the group that we have that we can get out there and find a way."